The New York Giants placed wide receiver Mario Manningham and kick return specialist Trindon Holliday on season-ending injured reserve Saturday, the team announced. Manningham strained a calf muscle in Thursday's preseason finale, and Holliday struggled with a hamstring injury throughout training camp.
There was no point during August at which either player appeared likely to make the team. But back in March, when the Giants were averaging a free-agent signing per day, the team envisioned significant roles for both.
The Giants will get back the services of Jon Beason, however, as the linebacker was activated from the PUP list.
Manningham, whose brilliant sideline catch in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLVI against the Patriots will live as an all-time great Giants moment, never appeared fully over the knee problems that have hounded him for the past couple of seasons. The Giants needed to see a big game from him Thursday in order to put him on the team, and he was injured and out of the game after just four plays. After playing just 18 games over the past two seasons and now missing all of 2014, there's a chance Manningham's career could be over at 28.
Holliday was signed to help the Giants' return game, specifically punt returns but also to help Quintin Demps with kick-return duties. But he injured his hamstring early in training camp and never practiced fully again after the first week. The Giants believe that rookie first-round pick Odell Beckham Jr. can be their punt returner. And while Beckham struggles to return from his own hamstring injury, Giants coach Tom Coughlin said Friday that the team can use wide receiver Rueben Randle at punt return in a pinch.
"Rueben Randle can handle that chore and fulfills the No. 1 responsibility very well, which is catch the football," Coughlin said. "We know that for a fact. You can count on him to catch the football. People surround the returner, and you will be safe with that."
The Giants also can use wide receiver Preston Parker, who has NFL experience as a punt returner, in that role, as he is part of the Giants' 53-man roster, the team announced Saturday.